Hormone Focus: Low Progesterone

Woman holding head with hair hanging over face

As we age, our sex hormone levels oestrogen and progesterone naturally start to fluctuate a little more wildly. It is one of the joys of being in your 40's as you start to move towards perimenopause. 

What is the role of progesterone?

The role of progesterone is to prepare the body for pregnancy, and during your regular cycle levels will naturally rise after ovulation. If the egg is not fertilised, then progesterone levels drop - cue PMS symptoms before menstruation. We've all experienced this at some stage. 

So this means that low progesterone levels can occur at any age, but this is particularly common in women who are entering perimenopause. 

So, what are the symptoms of low progesterone during perimenopause? Read on.

Changes in menstrual cycle - one of the most common symptoms of low progesterone is changes in your menstrual cycle. You may experience irregular periods, shorter or lighter periods, or even missed periods. This is often perceived as one of the first signs of perimenopause (but in fact there are many before this!)

Mood changes - low progesterone can also affect your mood. You may feel anxious, irritable, or even depressed. We can feel quite unbalanced and not at all like ourselves. Which is not great for us, but also for those around us. 

Hot flashes - just like with low estrogen levels, low progesterone levels can also cause hot flashes, which can leave you feeling like you're standing in the middle of an Australian humid-filled day in February.

Vaginal dryness and discomfort - low progesterone levels can cause the vaginal tissues to become thinner and less elastic, leading to dryness and discomfort during sex (so make sure you have some lubricant on hand).

Fatigue and difficulty sleeping - you may find yourself feeling more tired than usual, and may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up at 3am. 

Headaches - low progesterone levels can sometimes cause headaches, particularly around the time of your period.

Does the fun never end?!

Of course, there are many changes going on during this time of life. Your doctor can help you with ways to increase your progesterone levels, and Show Up can help balance your hormones naturally. Chasteberry also known as Vitex agnus-castus, has been associated with an increase in secretion of progesterone, which is why it is a key ingredient in Show Up

Some foods may also help stimulate the body's production of progesterone.

These include:

  • beans
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • kale
  • nuts
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • whole grains

Once again, if you have any concerns about your symptoms, your first point of call is your health care practitioner. 

Love Eir x